Shakespeare to ‘Scrubs’ to a Stint Off Broadway


WHAT does a guy do when he’s still in his 30s and has already achieved everything he ever dreamed about?

The actor Zach Braff was turning over that question the other day at a diner in Midtown Manhattan. He was discussing the problems facing Harry, his character in “Trust,” a new play by Paul Weitz that is in previews at Second Stage Theater (opening on Aug. 12 and running through Sept. 5), but Mr. Braff might as easily have been talking about himself. Last year he wrapped up filming a ninth season as John Dorian, or J. D., the lead character in the television show “Scrubs,” a role that brought him wealth and fame, as well as the chance to write and direct his own movie, “Garden State,” a critically praised romantic comedy. After so much success, where do you go?

“I’ve had this wonderful, blessed, lucky last 10 years, but you kind of go, ‘O.K., I’m 35, what else is my life going to be about?’ “ Mr. Braff said.

Mr. Braff? Is he on the verge of an existential crisis?

It wouldn’t seem so. Sitting in the diner wearing a fedora and shorts, along with two days’ worth of beard, he was the picture of confidence as he discussed how “Scrubs” meant that he could do, well, pretty much whatever he wanted for the rest of his life.

“I’m just enjoying this play so much,” he said, adding that he e-mailed Bill Lawrence, the creator of “Scrubs,” to say, “ ‘I just want to thank you one more time for giving me my dream life.’ “

After “Scrubs,” he said: “I put it out to my folks that I want to do challenging things. I don’t care if they pay a dollar, I don’t care if I have to help set the lights.”

The film he just shot, “The High Cost of Living,” which was made with French-Canadian actors and is partly in French, is a perfect example of the kind of work he wants to do, he said. “I like dark little art movies,” he explained. “It’s something that, if I saw it at a festival, I would go, ‘Wow,’ and tell my friends they have to see it.”


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